UI Professor Kembrew McLeod Responds to Criticism of Pink Locker Room Protest

Aug 29, 2014

University of Iowa Professor Kembrew McLeod is organizing what he calls a "Million Robot March Against Pink Locker Rooms" in protest of the university's painted pink locker room for visiting football teams.

The protest is planned to coincide with "FRY fest," an annual celebration honoring legendary Iowa football coach Hayden Fry, who had the opposing team's locker room painted pink in 1979.

"To tear that apart and spend the money right now to redo that just seems like a very low priority to me." University of Iowa president Sally Mason

McLeod argues that the pink locker room perpetuates sexist and homophobic athletic culture from the 1970s. Critics of McLeod's protest believe the locker room is harmless and just a joke. Many say coach Fry was a "psychology buff" who used the color pink as a calming effect, to influence the performance of the opposing team.

While admitting that the university is not likely to re-paint the locker room any time soon, McLeod hopes this protest brings attention to the issue and continues the discussion.

"Even if this protest is an utter failure...at least it successfully made [University of Iowa officials] address the issue," he says. "It's brought all sorts of really, really horrific, very sexist homophobic discourses among Hawkeye fans and supporters of the pink locker room, which only underscores my point."